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HindustanTimes Wed,01 Oct 2014

Red tape blocks VB probe into Ludhiana village land grab

Prabhjit Singh , Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, August 27, 2014
First Published: 08:39 IST(27/8/2014) | Last Updated: 17:52 IST(27/8/2014)

In June 2014, the Punjab vigilance bureau (VB) was all set to probe the role of the officers into the illegal occupation of 95 acres of a village common land that has also been facing the onslaught of illegal sand mining. Two months on, the VB still awaits the senior officials required from the departments of revenue, rural development and panchayat and industries for its special investigation team (SIT) proposed for the probe.

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The vigilance department had sought officials from these departments to join the SIT mooted under an IG-rank officer by VB chief director-cum-DGP Suresh Arora for the much-awaited probe “to be completed in two months”. The VB had asked the departments of industries and the rural development and panchayats to name a senior officer each to join the SIT so that it could finish its probe within two months.

Financial commissioner revenue (FCR) NS Kang, when contacted, confirmed the receipt of the communiqué by his department two months back. Kang, however, said he would write to the Ludhiana deputy commissioner for “a follow-up action” and would also convey the same to the vigilance department that had asked the FCR to initiate the probe and zero in on the guilty officials of the revenue department.

The letter no. 58/62/2014 of the vigilance department sent to these three departments had pointed out the involvement of certain officers in illegal sale deeds and inheritance mutation of this land, and facilitating the illegal mining on the land at Jodhwal village in Ludhiana.

As the VB asked for a senior official each from the departments of the rural development and panchayats and the industries, both these departments are yet to act.

Sources in the rural development and panchayat department confirmed that a file in regard of appointing an official of the rank of a deputy director for the VB’s SIT has been sent to minister Sikander Singh Maluka.

Earlier probe indicted 3 revenue dept officials

Prior to the VB’s move for SIT, an earlier probe report of the then additional deputy commissioner (ADC), development, Rishi Pal in October 2012 had indicted at least three revenue officials — a block development and panchayat officer (BDPO) and a district general manager, industries, along with a mining officer on the charges of facilitating the land grabbers to occupy the panchayat land and also for not taking notice or action for the illegal mining for sand that had brought the level of some 30 acres of this agricultural land down by 15-20 ft.

The government is also silent on taking a departmental action against the guilty officers named in the ADC’s probe report. They included BDPO Rana Partap Singh, naib tehsildar Hargobind Singh, kanugo Kashmira Singh, patwari Vinod Kumar and a district general manager (mining), who still on job. 

In April 2013, HT had reported that Rana Partap Singh, the BDPO in question, had been brought back to Machhiwara block six months after his removal from the station for his name has surfaced in the ADC’s probe report. The BDPO is presently posted at Khanna, in the face of the assurance of the then rural development and panchayat minister Surjit Singh Rakhra for chargesheeting the BDPO.

In another preliminary inquiry, by the VB, the then SSP (VB), Ludhiana, Satinder Singh had also indicted the aforesaid officers and even recommended an FIR against them in December 2012.

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